Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Why ask?

I am someone who is naturally curious. I enjoy learning about different things. Consequently, I ask a lot of questions and usually receive a lot of answers to those questions. When I ask questions, I want honest and correct responses. So, I would expect someone to want the same of me. Apparently, that is not always the case.

Why ask me a question if I'm not going to give you the answer you WANT to hear? Have you ever been in this situation? You receive a phone call, exchange polite greetings and then you're asked a question...of course, you give an answer to the best of your ability...only to be told "Oh, well, I'll call (so & so). Truly, I wanted to reach through the phone line and scream "Then why didn't you call her in THE FIRST PLACE????!!" (Rant over--thank you for letting me vent.)

People, I'm sorry. I give honest answers. Is that a problem? Should I just tell you what you want to hear only to find that I was correct in the first place? That seems to be a waste of our collective time. When I don't know the answer, I take the time to find the right answer for your purposes. I offer for your consideration this post. The one in which I was tied up in knots, but I managed to get answers for the people involved. By the way, Dinosaur Rocks! is a definite go for the second graders. Whoo-hoo! I'm thrilled and truly hope the students enjoy the program.

My other PTA responsibility is the Book Fair. My chairperson and I met today and worked on the letter inviting the students and their parents to come "check us out". Scholastic has an entire program in which they offer all sorts of suggestions and assign a sales representative assist in planning and coordinating your fair. This year's theme is "Read Around the World". We have a month and a half to plan, coordinate and line up volunteers to help. Since the students visit during class time, we need volunteers to assist the children in selecting a book (or two) to purchase. I've already made a mental list of people I want to help us with the fair. I'll keep you updated on our progress.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

PTA stuff

It has been one heck of a busy week. For a couple of days, I was in PTA (well, there's no other way to say it) hell. This year, I am co-chair of the Book Fair. Hopefully, I will learn all I need to know for next year, when I chair the committee. (Oh, joy!)

However, most of the angst I felt this week was due to the Cultural Arts committee (also known as Arts-in-Education) of which I'm the chair. Essentially, Cultural Arts helps facilitate the students' educational enrichment. Mrs. W (who happens to be the Mayor's second grade teacher from last year) always brings in this program on dinosaurs to culminate the unit. Since it happens so early in the school year, it can be tricky to coordinate the vendor and Boces approval. If you're not familiar with Boces--they (in this case) are the overseers of the various enrichment programs. It just so happens that Dinosaurs Rock! was not included in the Boces list of programs last year. So, my predecessor asked the PTA if we would agree to fund it. Of course, the members approved to do so. (I'm glad too, my daughter LOVED it.) This year, Mrs. W asked if we could once again fund the program if Dinosaurs Rock! was not one of the approved vendors. I called a Boces representative who told me that they once were on the list but weren't currently. Then, I decided to take the proverbial "bull by the horns" and call the people at Dinosaurs Rock! Once again I spoke to a lovely and helpful woman who indicated to me, she was mailing off the form within a couple of days. In the meantime, we had a PTA meeting pending, so at that point, I decided I would ask the Executive Board if Boces wouldn't pay for it, if our funds could do so. I shared the total cost and reminded them that we did this last year. Unfortunately, for me, the school principal spoke up and didn't know why we should pay for it. I tried to speak, however I couldn't find my voice. This happens to me when I am scared or shocked. I saw the writing on the wall-this teacher was NOT going to get her program and the principal didn't care. As luck would have it, we have some out-spoken members (and in this case-it worked out for me), the past treasurer added that it doesn't make a difference. She said that we either pay now or we pay later. This is a correct statement, because if we go over budget we have to pay Boces back. However, it's good, because they increase our budget for the next school year. But, back to my problem and the meeting, the principal said he would take care of it (meaning he'd talk to the teacher), but we didn't vote on it. So, in my mind, the principal was cancelling her program.

I barely slept that night, thinking that I failed the teacher, the second graders and my job to make enrichment programs happen for all of the students. Ready to quit, I finally called the PTA president who said she'd check into it. When I saw her later in the day, she told me that she'd speak to the principal after the dust settles and if we had to do a vote by telephone we could do it. A phone vote means that I would call all the members (with a witness present) and ask them to approve paying for the program. Fast forward 24 hours, when I called Boces and was told that Dinosaurs Rock! is an approved program. Quickly, I fill out the paperwork online and email it to the appropriate people. Hooray! Hooray!

Not for nothing, I hope this gets easier. I will keep you posted.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

First Days and Giveaways

Today was the first day of school for us. We live in the north eastern part of the country and begin after Labor Day. If I had my way, our district would start when the rest of the country starts school which is usually sometime in August. However, now that my older children are back in school, I may have time to blog again. Did you catch that? I may have time to blog.

The Mayor is now in third grade and was very concerned about starting school this year. Don't get me wrong, she LOVES school. She loves seeing her friends and learning. But, she really was worried last night. In fact. she was so uptight that she was still awake at 1:15 AM. Computer Kid (formerly known as Computer Boy--thanks Suzanne--I prefer your version) was not at all concerned about his first day. Since CK is on the autistic spectrum, I was thrilled he was not worried. He was excited to see his friend, Carl again. I reminded him that he'd see many of his friends from kindergarten in his new class. Both kids had good first days. One day down and 182 to go.

The same Suzanne is having a giveaway. Whoo-hoo! I love free stuff. She has a $500 gift card for Walmart. So, go visit this post and check out all the details!